The Arizona Fall League is the premier developmental league in baseball, bringing many of baseball’s top prospects together for six of the best weeks a prospect lover could ask for, but there is one rule that rarely comes into play, but can put a damper on a day. That rule is the “Robinson Rule” which states that no game will exceed 11 innings, instead the game will be considered a suspended tie. All individual stats will still count.
For most of the game between the Surprise Saguaros and the Peoria Javelinas, the Robinson Rule was not on anyone’s mind. Jason Garcia got himself into an early hole when Charlie Tilson walked to open the game, then advanced to third on a Yadiel Rivera single. Jurickson Profar then grounded into a fielder’s choice that allowed Tilson to score and give Surprise an early 1-0 lead. Later, in the fourth, Patrick Wisdom drove in Tyler Austin to double the lead.
Sam Wolff was on the hill for the Saguaros, and he was fantastic. He allowed just one walk and one hit in five innings of work, while striking out one. Domingo Acevedo, who has one game above short-season ball to his name, came in and put together two scoreless innings, but that is when the craziness began.
In his second inning of work, and still holding a two-run lead, Connor Sadzeck began allowing base runners. He struck out the first batter of the inning, but then a pair of singles by Adrian Marin and Tyler Smith gave the Javelinas their best scoring chance of the day. Nick Torres lined out to center field, allowing Marin to move to third, but the Saguaros were just one out from ending the game. D.J. Peterson refused to be the one to end the game, and he ripped a single into left, scoring Marin. Next up was Mike Yastrzemski who hit a ball up the middle, allowing Smith to score and tie the game. After very brief coaching visit to the mound, Sadeck made quick work of Phillip Ervin and sent the game to extras.
Again it was Charlie Tilson drawing a walk to lead off the inning that got things started. On a 2-2 count, Tilson took off for second, Yadiel Rivera grounded the ball to short but with Tilson on the move, the only play was at first. Jurickson Profar was next up and drove the ball into right center for a single but deep enough to score Tilson. Eric Yardley replaced pitcher Zack Weiss, and got the next two batters out to send the Javelinas to the plate down just one.
Again the Saguaros quickly get two outs, but Connor Lien singled and then stole second. Marin then drew a walk before Tyler Smith drove in Lien on a single. Nick Torres could not come through with the walk-off, and it was on to the eleventh inning.
After a Tyler Austin strikeout, Patrick Wisdom hit a sharp grounder to Johan Camargo at third who couldn’t handle it, putting the go ahead runner on yet again. Like clockwork, Wisdom stole second, advanced to third on a Ronald Guzman grounder, then scored on a Ramon Torres single.
For the third time in as many innings, the Saguaros were in a position to seal the game, and for the third consecutive inning, a pitcher blew the save. This time it was Andrew Edwards, and it didn’t take long. On the second pitch of the inning, D.J. Peterson drove a fastball to deep right for a home run, and again the game was tied. Yastrzemski reached on a single, but Phillip Ervin was unable to move him over, flying out to center. Chance Sisco then came through with a single that put the game-winning run on second base. Camargo came up and, on the first pitch of the at-bat, hit a grounder to Rivera who took it to second on his own and threw Camargo out at first to complete the double play and end the game, a 4-4 tie.
With the tie, the Saguaros were not able to widen the gap they have atop the West Division standings, staying four games ahead of the Javelinas and just three ahead of the Glendale Desert Dogs, who face the Mesa Solar Sox Monday night.